The evolution of the bow and arrow has occurred over thousands of years, but it has only been in the last few decades that major advances have been made in the bows used for bowhunting deer.
Longbows and recurve bows have been used for centuries. Today, however, the modern sport of bowhunting has been overtaken by the use of the compound bow as the main piece of bow hunting equipment.
Through the use of cables and pulleys, the bow is designed so that the hunter can pull back the bow through its draw weight and then the action of the pulleys allows the pull needed to hold the bowstring back to be highly reduced. This effect is commonly called ‘let off’ and allows the bow to be held at full draw with considerably less effort than standard bows.
Because the hunter is not straining to hold a high powered bow steady as he aims his shot, the compound bow allows a much higher level of accuracy that previous bow designs. The amount of reduction in the amount of force needed to hold the bow at full draw is typically 50% to 65% of the bows designed draw weight. Some extreme bows claim let off in the 90% range.
These changes in bow design have made the compound bow an extremely accurate tool when bow hunting deer. Combined with modern technology in material design both for the bow and arrows, accuracy and ease of use has increased orders of magnitude over previous bow types. A compound bow has the advantages of being lighter in weight, shorter and easier to carry and maneuver, and made of materials that require less care and worry about being damaged by the elements.
Accessories for the compound bow include trigger releases, different types of sights including cross hair and pin sights, stabilizers or v-bars which help to stabilize the bow before the shot, and various specialized arrow rests that help ensure accuracy.
There are many different variations of styles, sizes, draw weights, pulley configurations and types of compound bows available today. Bows are designed with the end use in mind as well as the size and physique of the hunter. Bows for hunting whitetail deer do not need to have the power of those that a hunter might use for bear or other big game animals.
The experience and guidance of other accomplished bow hunters is of major help if you are first looking to get a bow. Do your research before you make a decision. While low price is always attractive, try to acquire the highest quality bow that fits in your budget.
The sport of bowhunting deer is one of the most enjoyable outdoor hunting sports. The season is long, much longer than for gun hunting, and the quiet times in the woods when you are on a hunt can be an extremely agreeable and gratifying experience.